Updates since early This Morning

Hueso won’t pursue F&G commissioner; seeks reforms -- Assemblyman Ben Hueso said Friday that he will no longer pursue the ouster of embattled Fish and Game President Dan Richards over a legal but contentious mountain lion hunt in Idaho. Michael Gardner and Ed Zieralski UT San Diego Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal -- 3/9/12

Courage Campaign fires back at California Business Roundtable -- The war over tax increase ballot measures escalated Friday when sponsors of the so-called "millionaires' tax" denounced the Business Roundtable for its opposition. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/9/12

Fresno Democrat Blong Xiong will seek 21st District congressional seat -- For weeks, his potential candidacy has seemed like the worst kept secret in the Valley, but the second-term Fresno City Council member had never officially committed to the race. John Ellis in the Fresno Bee -- 3/9/12

Linda Halderman -- One and done. Assemblywoman Linda Halderman announced today that she will not seek election for a second term this year. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/9/12

Jeff Gorell is returning from war -- to step into Capitol fighting -- For Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, the war is almost over. The 41-year Camarillo Republican is scheduled to return to California in late March after spending a year in Afghanistan as a lieutenant commander in the Navy reserve. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/9/12

Bank of America to reduce principal for up to 200,000 homeowners -- Bank of America said Friday it would reduce by about $100,000 the amount owed by as many as 200,000 underwater homeowners as part of the recently announced government foreclosure settlement with top mortgage servicers. Jim Puzzanghera in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/9/12

U.S. job growth remains brisk in February -- The American economy kept creating jobs at a brisk pace in February, providing more evidence that the labor market is firming up despite higher gas prices and an unsettled global economy. Don Lee in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/9/12

State's jobless rate falls to 10.9%; Sacramento's rises to 11.3% -- California's unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in nearly three years in January, even though job growth stalled out, state officials said today. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/9/12

Bay Area adds nearly 14,000 jobs in January, led by strong growth in East Bay and South Bay -- Perhaps the most encouraging revelation in the Bay Area employment picture was the gain of 9,300 jobs in the East Bay, which accounted for two thirds of the 13,800 jobs added in the Bay Area during January. George Avalos in the Oakland Tribune -- 3/9/12

Obama on jobs: Keep engine going -- President Barack Obama Friday touted another positive monthly jobs report — but it was the continued growth in the manufacturing sector he stressed in a visit to a Richmond, Va. factory. JOSH BOAK Politico Kathleen Hennessey in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/9/12

Borenstein: Martinez pension spike scheme costing other California local governments -- In yet another gaming of a California public employee retirement system, Martinez City Council members have preserved a lucrative police pension spike by sticking hundreds of other local governments with much of the cost. Daniel Borenstein in the Contra Costa Times -- 3/9/12

Campaign slams regional water district -- The San Diego County Water Authority has turned frustration with the Metropolitan Water District into a full-fledged public relations campaign in hopes of avoiding more regional rate increases set for a vote next week. Michael Gardner and Mike Lee UT San Diego -- 3/9/12

Wife's tearful video can be shown during San Francisco sheriff's trial -- Key evidence in the domestic violence case against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi can be shown to a jury, according to a ruling Friday morning by a three-member panel of appellate judges. Maria L. La Ganga in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/9/12

prisons see increased demand for medical care despite pop drop -- Tens of thousands of inmates in California prisons suffer from complex and chronic diseases. That's unlikely to change much, even with a new law that’s expected to reduce the prison population by 40,000 within a few years. Longer “tough on crime” sentences mean people stay in prison longer and get sicker. Julie Small KPCC -- 3/9/12

Wildermuth: California’s an Unlikely Place for a GOP Primary Battle -- A growing number of pundits are suggesting that the excruciating slog to the GOP presidential nomination could come down to the California primary on June 5. John Wildermuth Fox & Hounds -- 3/9/12

Fox: San Francisco’s Regulations for Small Businesses make You Tube Satire -- According to California City News: The Planning Commission created such a video because it wanted to call attention to a “fictional but accurate portrayal of the current restaurant controls in the City’s Planning Code.” Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 3/9/12

Lawyer: Prosecute Rush Limbaugh for defamation -- A high-profile attorney is calling for Rush Limbaugh to be prosecuted on a defamation charge, saying an obscure Florida law can be used to punish him for calling a college student a "slut" and a "prostitute" on the air. MATT SEDENSKY Associated Press -- 3/9/12

Mitt Romney fights 'loser' label -- Many Republican political professionals are worried that Mitt Romney’s public image is now defined by a word never associated with winning presidential campaigns — weakness — and are urging him to take dramatic steps to recast his reputation between now and the fall. JOHN F. HARRIS and JONATHAN MARTIN Politico -- 3/9/12

Hospital did business with firms tied to its CEO, board members -- Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System had $21 million in transactions over the last five years with the firms, state finds. In two cases, the law may have been broken, auditors say. Sam Allen and Hector Becerra in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/9/12


   California Policy and Politics This Morning

Brown predicts ongoing budget problems, "finger-pointing" if his tax measures fails -- Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday he is racing to clear the November ballot of two rival tax initiatives because failure will lead to severe ongoing budget problems and Democratic blame-trading. David Siders and Kevin Yamamura in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/9/12

Jerry Brown: Millionaire's tax will 'pretty well' ensure defeat of tax plan -- Gov. Jerry Brown, in an increasingly public effort to clear the November ballot of competing tax measures, said this afternoon that his own initiative to raise taxes could survive the presence of one of those other proposals, but likely not the other, more popular "millionaires tax." David Siders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/9/12

Business Roundtable opposes two tax plans, but not Brown's -- The California Business Roundtable announced Thursday that it opposes two tax initiatives rivaling Gov. Jerry Brown's plan, but the large-business coalition stopped short of endorsing the governor's proposal. Kevin Yamamura SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/9/12

Jerry Brown is appalled by GOP primary birth control talk -- Gov. Jerry Brown has one word for the Republicans running for president: "Appalling." Dan Morain SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/9/12

Podcast: From Poems to Polls -- Governor Jerry Brown sent out a favorite poem this week along with his official proclamation of Arbor Day in California. If only this complicated election season in which he will play a major role could be described as elegantly... John Myers Capitol Notes -- 3/9/12

Official caught in mountain lion controversy may be removed as Fish and Game president -- More than 60 people turned out Wednesday at the California Fish and Game Commission meeting to speak in support of Dan Richards, whom state lawmakers could remove from the powerful body for shooting a mountain lion in a case that has drawn national attention. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury -- 3/9/12

What deficit? Legal mountain lion hunt dominates state Capitol -- Once again, California faces a budget crisis. Revenues are projected to come in lower than anticipated. The governor and special interest groups are sparring over competing tax measures. Angry college students are occupying the Capitol. BRIAN JOSEPH in the Orange County Register -- 3/9/12

California writes $602-million check for local jail construction -- California will dish out $602 million for local jail construction in 11 counties, state officials announced Thursday. The money is intended to help county facilities handle an influx of inmates, part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s realignment strategy to reduce chronic overcrowding at state prisons. Chris Megerian in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/9/12

CA study views high-risk inmate move -- The state can safely house some maximum-security inmates in lower-level prisons, a development that could save taxpayers money, according to a University of California study obtained by The Associated Press. DON THOMPSON Associated Press -- 3/9/12

While other states tighten abortion laws, California debates granting more access -- As proposals to tighten abortion laws work their way through statehouses across the country, California lawmakers are set to consider legislation aimed at giving more women access to first-term pregnancy terminations. Torey Van Oot in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/9/12

Fed auditors to ask questions about high-speed rail -- Federal auditors are now scrutinizing California's politically embattled high-speed rail program, in a search for facts that could turn up the heat. Michael Doyle in the Fresno Bee -- 3/9/12

Pollock drops out of race; other Democrats say they were pressured to do the same -- Moorpark Councilman David Pollock dropped out of the 26th Congressional District race on Thursday, saying the presence of four Democrats on the ballot would have created "a strong possibility of an unfavorable outcome not only for me but for the other Democrats in the race." Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 3/9/12

Walters: Redistricting, top-two primary change California's election game -- California's most noteworthy congressional race this year is the high-dollar shootout between Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/9/12

Stoker enters race after attempt to get him a state appointment fails -- It was curious last month when former Santa Barbara County Supervisor Mike Stoker sent an email to supporters asking them to attend a Feb. 24 event at which he would announce that he would be a Republican candidate in the 19th Senate District, but then told me that the email didn't necessarily mean that he had decided to run. "Things could change," he said at the time. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star Jean Merl in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/9/12

Limbaugh spurns Sleep Train's bid to resume advertising ties -- First it was Sleep Train Mattress Centers that spurned its longtime ally and business partner Rush Limbaugh. Now Limbaugh is returning the favor – and the split between the Sacramento retailer and the controversial radio host appears to be permanent. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/9/12

CalBuzz: Why Mitt vs Rick ’12 Ain’t Hillary vs Barack ’08 -- On Super Tuesday, GOP talking heads from Ari Fleischer to Michael Steele echoed Republican National Committee talking points, comparing their party’s increasingly bitter 2012 race to the 2008 Democratic primary contest. Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine CalBuzz -- 3/9/12

Energy secretary was 'nervous' about supplier deal with Solyndra -- Energy Secretary Steven Chu rebutted Republican allegations that he pushed San Francisco-based Prologis to sign a deal with now-bankrupt Solyndra, saying instead that he was "nervous" about the venture because he knew then the solar panel deal was likely to fail. Daniel J. Goldstein California Watch -- 3/9/12

legislative committee approves audit of water rates -- Responding to complaints about rising water bills from working-class Los Angeles County communities, a state legislative committee on Wednesday unanimously approved an audit to examine how a number of local water agencies set their rates and whether misuse of public money is driving up costs. Hector Becerra in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/9/12

Apple at center of e-book price-fixing allegations -- The Justice Department has threatened to sue Apple and major publishers in a high-profile case that could reshape the digital-books market, driving down prices but also potentially shifting market power from publishers to e-commerce giant Amazon. James Temple in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/9/12

100 Californians on new Forbes list of global billionaires -- Standing at the top of the California billionaires is Oracle Corp.'s Larry Ellison at $36 billion, the world's sixth richest person and third richest American behind Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Mexican media mogul Carlos Slim and his family top the global rankings at $69 billion. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/9/12

Families' exodus leaves San Francisco whiter, less diverse -- Last year, a family of three earning $111,000 a year could afford just 23 percent of homes for sale in San Francisco - mostly in southern neighborhoods, including Bayview-Hunters Point. Heather Knight in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/9/12

UCAN boss bonuses totaled $249,000 -- The top official at the Utility Consumers’ Action Network failed to disclose his salary and title as required on federal tax filings he signed, according to an investigator hired to examine the agency’s books. Jeff McDonald UT San Diego -- 3/9/12

   Economy - Jobs

Obama plan cuts 774 jobs at Beale Air Force Base -- Beale Air Force Base, the economic meal ticket of Yuba County, is heading into turbulence. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/9/12

Guitar maker Fender files for initial public offering -- Fender Musical Instruments Corp., the iconic company that has been making guitars in California since its inception in 1946, is seeking to raise $200 million in an initial public stock offering. W.J. Hennigan in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/9/12


Community colleges in line for federal largesse -- California, home to a quarter of the nation's community college students, could reap huge benefits from President Obama's $8 billion plan to pair local businesses and schools. Jessica Philipps in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/9/12

LAUSD to look at worst-case scenario budget cuts -- A worst-case scenario budget outline is expected to be submitted to LAUSD board members on Tuesday that calls for steep cuts to adult and early education, elementary school arts programs and school athletics transportation and a hike in lunch prices of 50 cents. Susan Abram in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 3/9/12

State Board of Ed draws QEIA line in sand -- Administrators from Stockton Unified School District went home about $3 million poorer yesterday. Kathryn Baron TopEd -- 3/9/12

California court: Schools liable for hiring molesters -- School districts can be held liable for administrators who learn that an employee may be prone to molesting children but fail to take action to protect students, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday. CHRISTINA HOAG Associated Press Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/9/12

Mark Arax, CSUF students slam FUSD over lack of communication, transparency -- A group of California State University, Fresno, journalism students and their instructor publicly criticized Fresno Unified School District on Wednesday for repeatedly blocking access to public information and attempting to stymie their reporting efforts. Heather Somerville in the Fresno Bee -- 3/9/12

Lawmaker Proposes New Rules for Vocational Schools -- A California lawmaker is calling for the state's private vocational schools to be more transparent about their accreditation status and the quality of the degrees they offer. JENNIFER GOLLAN Bay Citizen -- 3/9/12

Ramanathan: San Francisco Unified blazes civil rights path for California districts to follow -- As an education civil rights organization, we are far more accustomed to seeing school districts violate the rights of underserved students to a quality education than protect them from harm. Arun Ramanathan TopEd -- 3/9/12

   Health Care

Advocates say patients suffer as state overhauls Medi-Cal -- Patients who are being moved into Medi-Cal managed care plans as part of a major statewide policy shift are facing life-threatening obstacles to getting needed care, according to patient advocates who testified in a legislative oversight hearing. Christina Jewett California Watch -- 3/9/12

Study finds life expectancy varies widely in San Joaquin Valley -- Where you live can be an indicator of how long you'll live, according to a new study on San Joaquin Valley health. Bernice Yeung California Watch -- 3/9/12

Plaintiff challenging healthcare law went bankrupt – with unpaid medical bills -- Obama administration lawyers say her case is an example of why an insurance mandate is needed to prevent 'uncompensated care that will ultimately be paid by others.' David G. Savage in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/9/12


Water agency's goal is to get off the grid with renewable power -- Imagine your electricity bill getting cheaper every year, even during the heat waves of July and August. The Inland Empire Utilities Agency is trying to imagine just that. Wendy Leung in the Inland Daily Bulletin -- 3/9/12


Pot initiative effort dropped as Pat Robertson backs legalization -- Medical marijuana advocates are dropping their efforts to place a measure on the November ballot that would regulate California's booming dispensary industry. Michael J. Mishak in the Los Angeles Times Peter Hecht in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/9/12

   POTUS 44

Will Iran be Obama’s Cuban Missile Crisis? -- The mounting confrontation between the United States and Iran is like a Cuban Missile Crisis in slow motion. Graham Allison in the Washington Post -- 3/9/12

Often frosty relationship between Obama and Cantor begins to warm up -- The sudden cooperation between the Virginia Republican and the Obama White House is surprising, most notably because it’s happening during an election year. Molly K. Hooper The Hill -- 3/9/12


Deep South primaries offer little hope for Romney, opportunity for Santorum -- For Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, the Deep South primaries in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday will be a race for conservative primacy in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination. Nia-Malika Henderson in the Washington Post -- 3/9/12

To Mitt Romney campaign, enthusiasm may be overrated -- There are people who are passionate about Mitt Romney. Really. Jason Horowitz in the Washington Post -- 3/9/12

Boehner tries to keep budget from an becoming election year issue -- For months, congressional Republicans have hammered Senate Democrats for failing to pass a budget. Now, with their majority position on the line in the November elections, GOP House members are having budget troubles of their own. Lori Montgomery in the Washington Post -- 3/9/12

Why would Koch brothers want to refine Cato Institute? -- It seems that the effort by billionaires Charles and David Koch to take control of the libertarian Cato Institute is going poorly. Ezra Klein in the Washington Post -- 3/9/12